I talk a lot in these reviews about how much I appreciate music that pushes against genre boundaries and defies easy categorization, but that doesn’t mean I don’t also appreciate bands that take a well-established style and execute it to perfection. Long-running Chilean outfit Unaussprechlichen Kulten play straight-ahead, no frills death metal in the same vein as Immolation, and while I don’t tend to listen to a lot of this type of music—I tend to find it a bit one-dimensional and sterile-sounding—there’s something about these Santiago-based miscreants’ mix of Lovecraft (they take their name from a book of forbidden lore in the Cthulhu Mythos) and Satanism that really hits the spot.
Keziah Lilith Medea (Chapter X) doesn’t really deviate that much from what they did on their last long-player, 2014’s Baphomet Pan Shub-Niggurath, but it doesn’t need to – that record totally kicked ass, and so does this one. The production overall might be a bit cleaner, and there are a few more eldritch-sounding piano/synth intros to some of the tracks, but the overall musical approach is much the same. Built around a solid collection of technical-but-still-catchy riffs from longtime guitarists Herbert West and Joseph Curwen (they’ve really committed to the whole Lovecraft thing, even though the book they’re named after actually comes from Robetr E. Howard’s Mythos tales), the record is a remarkably engaging listen for the duration of its slightly less than 40 minute run time. Part of what makes it work so well is that they never stick with one riff or tempo for too long, which keeps them from getting monotonous. Highlights include the almost Slayer-esque opening riff to “The Woman, The Devil and God’s Permit,” the whiplash-inducing mid-paced sections on “Firma El Libro De La Muerte,” and the twin guitar lines in “Sabbatical Offering.” The songwriting is so consistent throughout, though, that there aren’t any tracks here that I want to skip, which is rare for this type of music.
Honestly, Keziah Lilith Medea (Chapter X) is probably the best straight-up death metal album I’ve heard in a good long while, and easily one of my favorite records so far this year. If you prefer your death metal light on the ‘cavernous’ atmosphere and heavy on sick riffing and haven’t yet gotten hep to Unaussprechlichen Kulten, you need to check this record out ASAP. Here’s hoping they tour the States again behind this one – I missed them when they were in Chicago supporting Baphomet Pan Shub-Niggurath.
Keziah Lilith Medea (Chapter X) will be available on June 2 via Iron Bonehead.